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The Greek word for “repentance” derives from a verb meaning “to radically change one’s thinking.” “Repentance” refers to an event in which an individual attains a divinely provided new understanding of their behavior and feels compelled to change that behavior and begin a new relationship with God (; ). While the Greek language can represent the concept of repentance as an independent action, the Semitic background of the New Testament writers demanded that appropriate actions follow the event of repentance (; ). Examples of changed behaviors following repentance include:
•Zacchaeus making restitution for the fraud he committed as part of his occupation ()
•Paul preaching the faith he once tried to destroy ()
•Onesimus, the runaway slave, returning to his master, Philemon, to face the consequences of his actions ()
offers the most explicit comments in the New Testament regarding the relationship between repentance and appropriate actions. James argues that suitable actions will inevitably follow a sincere experience of repentance. The rhetorical question “What good is it …?” (2:14) calls into question not the effectiveness of faith in Christ without accompanying good deeds to save the sinner, but the very presence of that faith if the deeds do not follow. He argues that just as the evidence of biological life in the human body is the basic processes of respiration and circulation, the evidence of saving faith is acts of justice and mercy that arise spontaneously from a changed life (2:18).

Important

The Greek word for “repentance” derives from a verb meaning “to radically change one’s thinking.” “Repentance” refers to an event in which an individual attains a divinely provided new understanding of their behavior and feels compelled to change that behavior and begin a new relationship with God (; ). While the Greek language can represent the concept of repentance as an independent action, the Semitic background of the New Testament writers demanded that appropriate actions follow the event of repentance (; ). Examples of changed behaviors following repentance include:
•Zacchaeus making restitution for the fraud he committed as part of his occupation ()
•Paul preaching the faith he once tried to destroy ()
The Greek word for “repentance” derives from a verb meaning “to radically change one’s thinking.” “Repentance” refers to an event in which an individual attains a divinely provided new understanding of their behavior and feels compelled to change that behavior and begin a new relationship with God (; ). While the Greek language can represent the concept of repentance as an independent action, the Semitic background of the New Testament writers demanded that appropriate actions follow the event of repentance (; ). Examples of changed behaviors following repentance include:
Hebrews 6:1 ESV
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Acts 20:21 ESV
testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 3:8 ESV
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
Acts 26:20 ESV
but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Matthew 3:8 ESV
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
Acts 26:20 ESV
but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Hebrews 6:1 ESV
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
•Zacchaeus making restitution for the fraud he committed as part of his occupation ()
•Onesimus, the runaway slave, returning to his master, Philemon, to face the consequences of his actions ()
•Paul preaching the faith he once tried to destroy ()
offers the most explicit comments in the New Testament regarding the relationship between repentance and appropriate actions. James argues that suitable actions will inevitably follow a sincere experience of repentance. The rhetorical question “What good is it …?” (2:14) calls into question not the effectiveness of faith in Christ without accompanying good deeds to save the sinner, but the very presence of that faith if the deeds do not follow. He argues that just as the evidence of biological life in the human body is the basic processes of respiration and circulation, the evidence of saving faith is acts of justice and mercy that arise spontaneously from a changed life (2:18).
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